Do you Recycle Tin Foil?
I posted this photo on my stories the other day to see how many people actually recycle their aluminium foil trays or foil wrap. I was shocked that out of the 56 people that responded only 16 did wash and recycle their foil. We all know about recycling our drinks cans but there seems to be very little knowledge about recycling foil trays and tin foil unless you live in an area where it's all taken as part of the kerbside recycling....even then, how much makes it to the recycling bin rather than the waste bin?
What do we use foil for?
Aluminium foil is widely used to wrap sandwiches, keep food fresh, roasting and helping to keep grill pans clean. Ready to cook meals, Meat Joints, Pies and takeaways are all packed in them and every single one of them can be recycled (as long as it's clean). The recycling process for foil is totally closed loop...that means 100% of it can be recycled and made into new products without any reduction in quality. It’s a truly brilliant material but if we don’t make the effort to give it a wash and take it to a recycling location then it joins everything else in landfill or gets incinerated.
Where can it be recycled?
Most large supermarkets have Aluminium recycling bins placed with the other recycling bins, they are also present at most tips and some of you may be lucky enough to have it taken away with your kerbside recycling.
To find out where your nearest recycling point is check on Recycle Now (click the image below to be taken straight to the website)
After use give the foil a wash. If it’s really badly crusted soak it in hot water with some washing up liquid first. They usually come up lovely and clean after a soak. Scrunch up the foil into a ball and keep it in a bag until you’ve collected more and then take it to your local recycling point. Use the Recycle Now website to help you find one.
If you aren't sure if something is possible to recycle, do the scrunch test. roll the foil packaging into a ball and release. if it springs back then it can't be recycled. If it stays rolled up then you can recycle it.
Why recycle Aluminium?
The industry body www.alupro.co.uk state that "Aluminium can be recycled forever: It can be melted down and reformed without losing any quality, and the process can be repeated over and over again. Recycling aluminium saves around 95% of the energy needed to make the metal from raw materials".
They also suggest the below figures on usage of Aluminium for the average UK household. Most of us will ensure that we recycle cans already but there's a lot of foil trays and tin fouil sheeting that may not yet be recycled.
I hope this helps change a few mind about recycling foil. Our plastic situation is bad enough without us adding foil to the waste too.
What alternatives are there to Tin Foil?
Obviously, just because something can be recycled, it doesn't mean that we should use lots of it and there are lots of reusable products that can do the same job. Check out a few below and let me know if you have any other fab ideas.
Reusable Grill pan liners
You can buy liners for baking and roasting. They are generally easier to clean than a large grill pan as you can fold it up and soak it more easily in the sink afterwards.
Bees Wax Wraps
So many of these are around now and they are fab as they grip like tin foil. I only use them for wrapping dry foods but you can use them to wrap a sandwich or use to cover bowls
Reusable sandwich bags and snack bags
For little ones you can buy reusable snack pouches and bags that can keep foods fresh and wrapped. Our Nom Nom Kids bags are amazing. click here if you want to know more.